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Senior S. Korean, U.S. diplomats discuss N. Korea, reaffirm commitment to denuclearization


The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia policy met in Seoul with South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Saturday for discussions on a range of pending issues, including North Korea, the foreign ministry said.

Daniel Kritenbrink, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, held the talks with Kim Gunn, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, and reaffirmed their commitment toward the denuclearization of North Korea.

Kritenbrink also reaffirmed Washington's strong support for President Yoon Suk-yeol's "audacious" initiative to help improve North Korea's economy in return for its steps toward denuclearization.

He arrived in South Korea on Thursday for a three-day visit.

His trip comes as Seoul and Washington kicked off Ulchi Freedom Shield -- the allies' largest annual military drills in years -- on Monday amid concerns that Pyongyang could respond with provocations.

The two sides also agreed to maintain a firm readiness posture and to respond sternly to any provocations from Pyongyang, according to the ministry. (Yonhap)